Making Real Meals At Home Real Easy

“What should we have for dinner?”

“What do you want for dinner?

“I don’t know….what do YOU want?”

“Do we have anything at home for dinner?”

Sound familiar? This was frequent words spoken in my house. We are busy….jobs, being parents….taking care of a house and everything else that comes with life….you know, all those responsibilities that everyone deals with. But we were starting to get busier than ever, and those words started to get used more and more. I refused to let the excuse of no time send us out the door to restaurants and drive through meals, but I had no system in place and meal planning was a drag. After Pinteresting the oodles of meal planning ideas and finding some really great and extensive plans, I decided I had to simplify and make my own.

I created a “Meal Binder”


In here I wanted to put all my meal ideas and recipes in one place. I didn’t want this to be a recipe binder for any recipe I have ever tried or liked. These were FAMILY APPROVED MEALS ONLY.

I needed to way to organize so I organized them by proteins, and salads…..

Soups and Salads, Fish, Poultry, Pork, Beef, and Vegetables

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Each section has a main page. On this main page I write any meal my family enjoys eating that contains that protein. For example: Beef. I wrote meals that may or may not need a recipe for (like hamburgers). I included things like chili, tacos, steak (again don’t need a recipe for), spinach and feta burgers, etc. Any idea that my family enjoys!


If I had a recipe cut out from a magazine or already written on an index card I put it in a protector sheet behind the front page. If the recipe was in a recipe book like my “Fix it and Forget it” cookbook I was honestly too lazy too copy it down and put in my book so I noted next to the meal idea the name of the recipe book and the page it was on. This was much more time efficient for me!

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When it comes to planning my 5 dinners each week I pull out the binder and choose 5 family approved meals and the recipes are right there to make grocery list making even easier. Organizing the binder into proteins makes it really simple to add variety into your families diet. I know my family was getting tired of eating chicken multiple times in one week!

Some people even take it the next step and add the grocery list items on each recipe or notes what side dishes pair well with the meal. Maybe someday I will add the next step…..for now this alone has saved my sanity!


Need more help planning meals weekly? Check this blog out!